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Staff perceptions of residents across the long-term care landscape


Joseph Gaugler,
Behavioral Science,
University of Kentucky College of Medicine,
110 College of Medicine Office Building,
KY 40536-0086,


Aims.  This paper reports a study to determine how facility-, resident-, family- and staff-level indicators are empirically associated with staff members’ perceptions of residents in nursing homes (NHs), assisted living facilities (ASLs) and family care homes (FCHs).

Background.  While various efforts have described the ramifications of staff–resident interactions in nursing homes (NHs), few studies identify the factors that potentially influence staff members’ perceptions of residents in multiple long-term care settings.

Methods.  The participants were 41 care staff located in five NHs, five ASLs, and 16 FCHs randomly selected in Kentucky, United States of America. Face-to-face and telephone interviews were conducted with care staff, residents in their care, family members of residents, and administrators of participating facilities. Telephone interviews measured staff perceptions of residents on two domains: cohesion (perceived feelings of closeness between staff and residents) and knowledge of residents’ personal lives and care needs.

Results.  Regression models found that staff who were married, reported more positive attitudes towards family members, and worked in smaller facilities reported greater staff–resident cohesion. In addition, staff who cared for a higher percentage of residents with learning difficulties indicated greater knowledge of residents.

Conclusion.  The findings emphasize the need to consider elements of staff–family relationships when considering staff perceptions of residents. They also imply that clinical interventions designed to enhance social relationships in NHs can be extended across the long-term care landscape to influence the staff–resident–family triad positively.